Our PURPOSE

We believe we write our future with the stories we narrate, and we are committed to co-creating a more inclusive, connected, and just world

“To be a storyteller is to recognize, break apart, and critically reshape the stories of our communities and our world.”

Tsering Lama, Storytelling Advisory, Greenpeace International

We amplify local knowledge, share powerful stories and ideas, and ask what is possible.

Our mission is to use oral history and storytelling to spark conversation, connection, and social change in the South Sound and beyond.

Who We Are & What We Do

We are a local nonprofit of community storytellers in (so-called) Olympia, WA committed to gathering people together to share stories that have been forgotten, silenced, or ignored throughout history. We weave the stories that often go unshared into the fabric of our public life. We work to build resiliency, strengthen identity, and correct collective amnesia about who we are together in this homeplace.

We envision a local community that honors, seeks out, and is shaped by the many histories, identities, and stories that reflect the people we are in this place.

Community Offerings

Oral history and personal narrative are at the center of our work. We experiment with a variety of formats - live storytelling, Playback Theatre, community conversations, podcasts, film screenings, exhibits, and more. We carry out our work in three primary ways.

Our work is both highly collaborative and experimental. We love finding points of intersection with others to increase our collective impact. We have two paid part-time staff and many collaborators (both paid and volunteer) who bring their unique skills to help further our mission. Our collaborators include multimedia storytellers, artists, academics, community organizers, and other organizations doing good work locally.

Our Values

  • Local community responsiveness - Our story projects come about from the needs and assets of the community. We aim to be responsive, consistent, and trustworthy with our community partners. Our projects are always co-created with the people we are serving - 'nothing about a community without the community.' We want to connect people with their homeplace, the land, and one another.
  • Ethical story stewardship - In our workshops and collaborations, we emphasize process over product and the ethical considerations of holding other peoples’ stories. We aspire to gather and share nuanced, layered stories with artistic and ethical integrity.
  • Collective memory activism - We intentionally feature stories that represent diverse perspectives and multicultural identities to help eliminate entrenched biases, stereotypes, and discrimination within communities. We highlight the voices and contributions of those who have historically been in the margins and prioritize accessibility and cultural responsiveness in our programming. Through storytelling, we aim to more deeply understand ourselves, embrace our shared humanity, celebrate our uniqueness, and collectively weave the narrative of the world we want to live in.
  • Equitable organizing - We strive to incorporate antiracist practices into our organizational values and structure because we know white supremacy culture can easily manifest in organizations. Identifying and naming the cultural norms we want to see helps make room for a truly multicultural organization. We choose to value people over productivity, embracing discomfort as the root of all growth, and deepening our collective understandings of systemic racism and oppression and how our personal experiences and feelings fit into a larger picture.

Our Practice

Window Seat Media is a worker self-directed nonprofit with shared leadership. We are a nimble organization that thrives on synergy, abundance thinking, and experimentation. We value relationships (human and place-based), multi-disciplinary collaboration, community voice, equity, transparency, and trust.

Storytelling is a vital part of human life, and there are many ways that community storytelling projects can nourish, heal, and strengthen our communal life. We understand that stories are told not only through words, but also through all our oral traditions, including the food we grow and prepare, the music we make and dances we perform, our handicrafts, and our traditions and rituals.

We consider ourselves stewards of other peoples’ stories. We do not own the copyright to the stories we gather and we never share a story without the person's feedback and ongoing consent. Our work is informed by best practices from the American Folklore Society and the Oral History Association.

Strategic Plan Community Feedback

Take our Community Feedback Survey to inform our 2022-25 strategic plan and planning for future community oral history and storytelling projects. We appreciate you taking the time to offer your feedback and insights.

We are guided by a commitment to continually refine our practice, to listen deeply, and to find relevant, innovative, and evocative ways to share community stories. We center community input, always.

Annual Reporting